Walter Mazzarri to leave Watford despite securing Premier League place
By Adam Leventhal
Last Updated: 17/05/17 8:32pm
Walter Mazzarri is to leave his role as Watford head coach less than a year after taking over.
Sky Sports News HQ understands the Italian will take charge of the final match against Manchester City on Sunday and will depart along with his coaching staff after just one season in charge.
Mazzarri was told of the decision on Tuesday at the club's training ground by club owner Gino Pozzo and chairman Scott Duxbury.
Duxbury told Sky Sports News HQ: "After the board discussed with Walter Mazzarri the club's future goals and aspirations, it was decided he will be stepping down from his position as the club's head coach after the final game of the 2016/17 season.
"We thank Walter and his staff for the contribution they have made to Watford Football Club over the past year."
The decision brings to an end the Italian's 11-month tenure at Vicarage Road, in which he has managed to keep the club in the Premier League.
However, their recent run of results has been poor, including nine defeats out of their last 13 and the loss of their last five games.
Prior to their recent run of defeats, three victories in four matches against Sunderland, West Brom and Swansea ensured the club would be playing Premier League football for the third season in a row after reaching 40 points.
Since then there has been little to celebrate.
There were high moments earlier in the season with victories over Manchester United and Everton, and an impressive 2-1 win at Arsenal at the end of January.
Yet that win at the Emirates was their last away from home and they have subsequently lost seven on their travels, which has contributed to a drop in morale at the club and a slide towards the relegation zone.
Sky Sports News HQ understands there have also been other contributing factors in the decision to part company with Mazzarri a year into a three-year contract that was signed last summer.
Those reasons include the 55-year-old's struggle to grasp the English language, which has led to difficulties in making a strong connection with the fans, public and media.
Mazzarri's use of a translator on the training ground at times has also led to a strained relationship with some of the squad. One source also told us that the focus on intense and frequent training sessions rather than the use of valuable recovery time was also an issue.
Although Mazzarri has become only the third Watford manager to keep the club in the top division, following in the footsteps of the late Graham Taylor and last season's head coach Quique Sanchez Flores, there hasn't been a mood of celebration at the club, which we understand has also made key decision makers want to look for another solution.
There has also been criticism from fans of Mazzarri's style of play, erring on the side of safety rather than attacking flare.
Experts such as Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have voiced concerns regarding Watford's fragility in defending set-pieces which was highlighted in the most recent defeat at Stamford Bridge on Monday Night Football against champions Chelsea.
Mazzarri will point towards a significant injury list throughout the season that has inhibited his ability to select a settled line-up, including losing new signings Robert Pereyra and Mauro Zarate with long-term injuries.
He will be in the dug-out for the final time on Sunday yet it is uncertain whether he will attend the club's end of season awards ceremony the following evening.
We understand the club is actively considering options for Mazzarri's successor, with Hull City's Marco Silva being strongly linked with the job.
Watford will be eager to find the right man as they now go in search of their eighth head coach in the last five years.